Today we announce that our Chief Executive, Andy Thornton, is leaving us
Andy has been with the Citizenship Foundation since bringing the Giving Nation programme to us in 2004. He went on to become our Head of Programmes and then CEO for the last five years. Now, after 12 years, he is waving goodbye and moving on to new ventures.
Andy managed our long and successful partnership with the Office for Civil Society, initially growing our ‘giving’ programmes that supported young people to become active members of civil society through taking part in school-based social action.
These have now reached thousands of primary and secondary schools, and collectively probably touched a million young lives - proving the value of the government’s investment in them.
As CEO, Andy led our battle to retain citizenship on the National Curriculum in England when signs indicated that it might be removed at the arrival of the coalition government in 2010. Together with other supporters the ‘Democratic Life’ coalition convinced the Department of Education to hold on to the subject.
This proved the value of our many networks and partnerships, an element of our work that Andy has continued to forge through participating in coalitions such as the #IWill campaign and Generation Change, and through galvanising the forces of the legal profession behind our school based legal education.
Andy’s final message to us stresses the value of our ongoing mission:
'I am going to miss being part of this incredible little powerhouse of an organisation that has consistently achieved results bigger than its size. That’s chiefly because our purpose makes so much good sense to so many people, and for all their support I remain deeply grateful.
'Over the last five years we have swum against the tide of opinion in Westminster and managed to retain our vision whilst the shape of the school system here in England has changed so much.
'Achieving in this setting hasn’t half been tiring!… but the signs are now good: schools and government are recognising the knock-on effect of ignoring young people’s need to understand the world they will inherit.
'The job of supporting them to become informed and active citizens of today and the future will go on – I look forward to pretending it was all because of me in the years to come!'
Martin Bostock, Chair of Trustees at the Citizenship Foundation, said:
'Andy has done an outstanding job for the Foundation for twelve years – five of them as our CEO. He has steered the charity through some of the most difficult times in our history with energy, passion, conviction and great humanity.
'We will all miss him, but we wish him the very best in his new role as well as looking forward to hearing some new songs in due course.'
Andy begins his new role as Executive Director of the National Youth Jazz Collective in April, belying his second life as a musician which he looks forward to reviving ‘once he’s got his energy back’.